College degrees alone will soon not guarantee graduates a job and big salary, as employers shift their preference from big academic papers to soft skills.
Employers are now keen on young job seekers with specific personal attributes like efficient communication and relational skills as well those who have engaged in a productive initiative-not necessarily from a salaried job.
Graduates in Sales and Marketing, Human resources and other related humanity programmes are the major casualties in the shifting job market trends.
World Bank funded, Kenya Youth Empowerment Programme(KYEP) Programme Manager, James Kabucho also said most young professionals fail job interviews due to lack of professional expression in terms of dressing and language.
Kabucho who doubles up as Life Skills Promoters (LISP), Programme manager, said the shifting focus to softskills in the job market is driven by increased pressure for employers to address supply side constraints against demand.
“Papers now mean nothing. Before recruiters see your academic certificate, they look for a particular attribute or character that matches with the job you are seeking. Life skills are now viewed as a big contributor to business success,” said Kabucho.
KYEP, a public-private initiative aimed at addressing unemployment among youths has so far trained close to 20,000 youths in life skills and connected them to internship opportunities.
“Skills mis-match is a big debate with industries now looking for work-based skills. Only 10 percent is required in technical skills which can be trained during the three to four months internship programmes,” said KYEP project director at Kepsa, Eliud Gachugu.
The six month programme targeting school drop outs aged between 15 to 38 and those from middle level colleges has been funded to a tune of Sh 1.4 Billion ($ 16Million) to help them gain entry to entry level jobs.
“Completion rate for these candidates has been 75 percent with 80 percent of those qualified get employment in the private sector or others join hands to create self employment,” said Kabucho.
On Thursday, a total of 6,300 completed their six month training on prevailing attitudes among the youth, passion, effective communication and etiquette for work place as well as CV writing sessions.
Nairobi had the highest number of participants at 2,800 in ceremony held at Kabete Technical Training Institute (KTTI), While Kisumu and Mombasa trained 1,900 and 1,600 respectively.